Virgin Media, SeaChange, serve up results for VOD ad trial

Wed, 04/15/2009 - 8:20am
Mike Robuck

Virgin Media’s first ever dynamic advertising trial confirmed that consumers respond well to advertisements in video-on-demand services.

The cable industry as a whole has been looking at ways to monetize on-demand services. The three month trial by Virgin Media, which included help from SeaChange International and Rentrak, found that 54 percent of those in the trial were positive about receiving ads while watching on-demand content.

As part of the trial, ads from Kellogg’s, John Lewis Royal Mail and other companies were inserted around selected on-demand content from Virgin Media TV, Channel 4 and Warner TV, to 100,000 homes across North London.

Among those in the trial, 65 percent preferred to see ads beforehand with ads lasting 30 seconds the most popular format. Respondents also liked ads relevant to the program being watched, such as hair care ads before Britain’s “Next Top Model” or ads for home products after “Grand Designs.”

“There is a clear opportunity for on-demand television to deliver relevant ads to an engaged and growing audience, said Mark Schweitzer, chief commercial officer at Virgin Media. “Our TV customers watched more than half a billion on-demand programs during 2008 and the service’s popularity has grown by over 60 percent during those 12 months. By continuing to develop our on demand TV platform, we can offer even more great content and choice to viewers, a compelling opportunity for advertisers and the potential for an additional revenue stream to broadcasters.”

The ad trial drove a 62 percent increase in the spontaneous awareness of brands and products among  the participants. Awareness of individual ads increased by 27 percent and overall campaign recognition also showed a clear increase of 27 percent.  

SeaChange International’s AdPulse system was used during the trial, inserting ads before and after on-demand content in real time, allowing campaigns to be kept up-to-date and specific to the time of day or region.

Virgin Media’s trial matched ads to program genres, tested a range of ad lengths, including single 30-second pre-rolls, consecutive pre-rolls and end rolls, and updated campaigns weekly. The number of ads were capped with a limit on the volume of programs that had ads placed around them.

Virgin Media also worked with SeaChange’s On Demand Group (ODG) for content aggregation and both Rentrak and ODG to measure content performance throughout the trial.

Ids, the advertising sales house of Virgin Media, and Channel 4 Agency Sales managed the advertising space for the trial for companies.

More Broadband Direct 04/15/09:
•  Virgin Media, SeaChange, serve up results for VOD ad trial
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•  NCTA rushes to Time Warner Cable's defense
•  EBay Plans IPO for Skype
•  Broadband Briefs for 04/15/09



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